Biography

A first generation HE participant herself, Cath experienced and value the potentially transformative nature of higher education. After studying sociology for her first degree, she undertook social work training at a relatively young age. Her expectations and preferred areas of practice changed during this time and upon graduating, Cath worked as the local Youth Court Officer representing the local authority in court cases involving young people and also carrying out direct work to prevent and respond to offending as well as working therapeutically with vulnerable young people. Work involved early projects focussed upon working with young sex offenders. Cath later worked within different fields of social work including care leaving, voluntary sector provision such as managing the Women's Refuge and also fostered teenage girls including young teens and their babies.Supervising her first social work student as part of my work introduced Cath to the role of 'educator' and a fascinating with this led to part time work at Sussex University and eventually to obtaining a full time lectureship.

Over the years at Sussex, she worked proactively to improve student outcomes and experiences and to develop the already experienced staff team. Cath was fortunate to receive a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship Award in 2011, relatively early on in her academic career, largely on the basis of Cath's"support but challenge" approach to professional education and to supporting transition into and through professional learning. Cath has subsequently worked at Middlesex and Brighton Universities where her commitment to professional education, student experience and supporting and developing staff teams has continued.

Cath studied law via a conversion course and completed the Bar training course (but did not practise) as a result of extensive interest in law for and in social work and education. Cath is a member of the editorial board for Social Work Education: the International Journal.

Research and scholarship

Main publications:

 

  • Holmström, C and Taylor I (2008a) “Researching Admissions: What Can We Learn about Selection of Applicants from Findings about Students in Difficulty on a Social Work Programme?” Social Work Education, Volume 27, Issue 8 pp 819-836;
  • Holmström, C and Taylor, I (2008b) “Mapping the Terrain of Selection for Social Work: A Critical Analysis of Policy, Theory and Research” Social Work Education, Volume 27, Issue 5 August 2008 pp 519 - 535
  • Holmström, C. (2010) Selection and admission of students for social work education: Key issues and debates in relation to practice and policy in England. SWAP, Southampton, available at: http://www.swap.ac.uk/docs/projects/admissions_rpt.pdf
  • Holmström, C. (2011) “Social Work’s New Non-Traditional Students? The experiences of younger students within social work education” Social Work Education, 31(3), pp269-286
  • Holmstrom, Cath (2011) Selection and admission of students for social work education: key issues and debates in relation to practice and policy in England. Project Report. Higher Education Academy: SWAP, Southampton.
  • Holmström, C. (2014) ‘Suitability for Professional Practice: Assessing and Developing Moral Character in Social Work Education’, Social Work Education, 33(4), pp451-468.
  • HEA, 2014 Assessing the Suitability of Students to enter and remain on qualifying social work programmes (Guidance for HEA). Lead co-author along with Hilary Burgess.
  • Holmström, C. (2016) ‘Suitability, gate-keeping and social work education’ in I. Taylor & M. Lefevre (eds) International Handbook of Social Work Education, Routledge.
  • Holmström, C (2019) ‘Transitions to adult services’ in Braye and Preston Shoot The Care Act: implications for Practice 2019
  • Lelkes, J. and Buch, A. and Holmstrom, C, (2021) (co-authored with practitioner researcher and colleague without publication record) ‘Well-being as a principle in the Care Act: different interpretations and links with capacity’,

 

Practice Holmström, C (in preparation for completion of draft Autumn 2022 Personal qualities for professional practice: cross-national comparative curricula study (for publication late spring 2022) Jointly with Singapore colleagues Holmström, C (in early stages of preparation) ‘Voluntary Sector Social Work: swimming against the tide? Reporting from a pilot study’ (for publication summer 2022)

Plus, articles arising from my recent funded project (3papers including one focussed upon working with young men as peer researchers). In preparation.

Teaching

Main teaching and teaching-related roles (current/recent):

I have been the module lead for UG and PG modules including Legal processes and Research methods/dissertation and contribute to skills development work especially around meta-cognitive skills such as critical reflection and observation. I have also led on some of the advanced theory sessions on approaches such as chaos and complexity theory and power/control. I chaired the learning and teaching committee of the social work education UK learned society, JUCSWEC 2014-17 and in this role ran several workshops with and on behalf of the regulatory and professional bodies, and also facilitated day conferences for fellow SW faculty elsewhere in the UK.

I have been fortunate to work in other contexts internationally including time spent in Ethiopia and Singapore during which time presentations as below were delivered:

  • National University of Singapore (April 2019) ‘Practitioner research: lessons from local pilots’ and ‘Personal suitability for professional practice’
  • National University of Singapore (February 2018) “When competence is not enough for professional suitability”
  • Griffith University (April 2016) “Suitability for Social Work: considerations for field educators”
  • University of Gondar, Ethiopia, “Personal suitability for professional practice: designing an effective curriculum”
  • ATINER, Athens (May 2013) “When Competence is not enough: considering the role of moral character and virtue in social work education”

Further information

Invited member of the Education work-stream of the (national) Social Work Reform Board 2009-10.

Invited member of the Education Implementation Group post-Reform Board 2011-2014.

Visiting lecture/scholar tours: Taiwan 2011 and December 2013; Ethiopia (Gondar) January 2016 and National University of Singapore, January 2018 and May 2019.

Officer of JUCSWEC (Learned Society for Social Work) and Chair of national Teaching and Learning Committee, JUCSWEC 2014-2017: in this role, consulted with government and civil servants about policy changes proposed and regulatory issues as well as represented HE at such consultation events.

Reviewer for several UK and international social work and related journals.

External Examiner at 3 HEIs (have been in EE roles since 2006). Currently: Manchester, Nottingham Trent University and regularly take part in reviews such as periodic reviews, often by direct invitation and have recently conducted validation events for apprenticeship programmes.

Member/Assessor of (national) TEF Subject Pilot Panel (Social Sciences) 2018 and the Education and Care Panel 2019. In both cases I was the only SW academic involved nationally.

Selected Publications

  • Lelkes J, Bouch A, Holmstrom C. 2021. Well-Being: From Concept to Practice?. Practice, 289-307, vol. 33(4). doi> link> full text>
  • Holmstrom C. 2020. Transitions to adult social care. In The Care Act 2014: Wellbeing in Practice. Sage.
  • Holmstrom C. 2016. Suitability, gatekeeping and social work education. In Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Education. Routledge.
  • Holmstrom C. 2014. Assessing the suitability of students to enter and remain on qualifying social work programmes.
  • Holmström C. 2014. Suitability for Professional Practice: Assessing and Developing Moral Character in Social Work Education. Social Work Education, 451-468, vol. 33(4). doi> link> full text>

Full Publications Listshow

Journal Articles

  • Lelkes J, Bouch A, Holmstrom C. 2021. Well-Being: From Concept to Practice?. Practice, 289-307, vol. 33(4). doi> link> full text>
  • Holmstrom C. 2014. Assessing the suitability of students to enter and remain on qualifying social work programmes.
  • Holmström C. 2014. Suitability for Professional Practice: Assessing and Developing Moral Character in Social Work Education. Social Work Education, 451-468, vol. 33(4). doi> link> full text>
  • Holmström C. 2012. Social Work's New ‘Non-traditional’ Students? Learning from the Experiences of Our Younger Students. Social Work Education, 269-286, vol. 31(3). doi> link> full text>
  • Holmström C and Taylor I. 2008. Researching Admissions: What Can We Learn about Selection of Applicants from Findings about Students in Difficulty on a Social Work Programme?. Social Work Education, 819-836, vol. 27(8). doi>
  • Holmström C and Taylor I. 2008. Mapping the Terrain of Selection for Social Work: A Critical Analysis of Policy, Theory and Research. Social Work Education, 519-535, vol. 27(5). doi>

Chapters

  • Holmstrom C. 2020. Transitions to adult social care. In The Care Act 2014: Wellbeing in Practice. Sage.
  • Holmstrom C. 2016. Suitability, gatekeeping and social work education. In Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Education. Routledge.

Other

  • Holmstrom C. 2011. Guidance for HE admissions tutors and partners on implementing new arrangements for the selection of students to social work degree courses.
  • Holmstrom C. 2010. Selection and admission of students for social work education: key issues and debates in relation to practice and policy in England.

Supervision

Hari Flannigan, University of Brighton

Lindsey Giddings, Keele Professional Doctorate

I was the second supervisor for Eleni Papouli throughout her PhD studies whilst at Sussex.

Experienced and keen PhD supervisor in areas relating to social work with young people, international social work, values and ethics, fitness to practise and professional education.

Collaborations and grants awards

  • 2018-2021: Young Men Matter: £98,000 plus VAT, research grant to explore issues affecting engagement and response of vulnerable young men in Brighton and Hove to existing interventions, I am the PI coordinating an interdisciplinary team
  • 2016: £1000 from UoB Centre for Learning and Teaching to explore ‘process curriculum’ and student-led learning
  • 2015: £850 from University of Brighton to develop network and develop proposal for funded project to examine admissions practices/tools/decision making within national/international context.
  • 2010-11: £5500 for writing of national guidance in respect of social work admissions and selection including equalities issues. Available at: http://www.swapbox.ac.uk/1133/ In addition:
  • 2008-9: £2000 HEA Subject Centre (SWAP) grant to disseminate research regarding the experiences of younger students within social work education. http://www.swapbox.ac.uk/view/creators/Holmstr=F6m=3ACath=3A=3A.html
  • 2009-10: £5000 from GSCC and HEA Subject Centre to conduct national admissions practice survey to inform Social Work Task Force. Final report available at: http://www.swap.ac.uk/themes/admissions.html
  • 2009-10: I was a Research Officer working with P.I. Dr Elaine Sharland on the ESRC’s Strategy for Social Work and Social Care Research. I contributed approximately 1 day per week over a period of 9 months to the design of the data collection tools and data analysis. I contribute to the dissemination seminar (listed under conference presentations below). This project utilised a version of the Delphi method. In conjunction with another local HEI and two local authorities, I led on the development of the local SW Teaching Partnership funded by approximately £750,000 over the last 3 years and have been the lead for developing practitioner research as part of this. Approximately 150k of this has benefitted UoB. I led on the writing and submission of apprenticeship contact bids within SW in 2018-19 and secured all 3 of the contracts. This has been worth around £72k per annum for each year group (72k in 2019, 144k 2019-20).
  • I have had responsibility for the submission and reporting upon the government funds to support practice placements and skills development days in social work education for the last 10+ years. At UoB this results in income of around £45k per year from the total budget/income of approximately £200-220k.
  • Invited member of the Education work-stream of the Social Work Reform Board 2009-10
  • Invited member of the Education Implementation Group post-Reform Board 2011-2014
  • Visiting lecture/scholar tours: Taiwan 2011 and December 2013; Ethiopia (Gondar) January National University of Singapore, January 2018 and May 2019.
  • Officer of JUCSWEC (Learned Society for Social Work) and Chair of national Teaching and Learning Committee, JUCSWEC 2014-2017: in this role, consulted with government and civil servants about policy changes proposed and regulatory issues as well as representing HE at such consultation events
  • Reviewer for several UK and international social work and related journals
  • External Examiner at 3 HEIs (have been in EE roles since 2006).
  • Currently: Manchester, Nottingham Trent University, Ulster University and regularly take part in reviews such as periodic reviews, often by direct invitation and have recently conducted validation events for apprenticeship programmes.
  • Member/Assessor of (national) TEF Subject Pilot Panel (Social Sciences) 2018 and the Education and Care Panel 2019.

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